Dr. Kimberly Sheridan - 2019 Keynote Presenter

Kimberly Sheridan is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology. She received her doctorate in Human Development and Psychology in June 2006 from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She holds a joint appointment in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.


Dr. Sheridan's research takes a sociocultural perspective on learning  in the arts and media, with a particular focus on how this learning is situated in diverse and changing contexts with the advent of new digital technologies.  She focuses on how these can be innovative contexts of possibility for traditionally underserved groups. For 2012-2015, she is co-leading a  collaborative project, Learning in the Making: Studying and Designing Makerspaces, funded by a National Science Foundation Cyberlearning grant. As Principal Investigator with Dr. Erica Halverson of University of Wisconsin-Madison, she is conducting ethnographic studies of makerspaces, emergent spaces involved in creative production that often involve youth and adults combining art, engineering and digital technologies, to understand how these communities emerge, function and evolve to support learning.  Building on this ethnographic work, Drs. Halverson and Sheridan, collaborate with the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to conduct design experiments in the children's museum MAKESHOP: pittsburghkids.org/exhibits/makeshop

In her work from 2007-2011, as Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Kevin Clark on the National Science Foundation grant, Game Design through Mentoring and Collaboration where traditionally underserved youth aged 8-18 from the D.C. area learn computer modeling, animation and game design through a peer mentoring and teaching process, she looks at the learning involved in the integration of art, science and technology, and the social collaborative processes involved in peer mentoring in this context. This work has continued past 2011 through the generous support of private and corporate donors. In 2011-2012, she was awarded a George Mason University creative award to collaborate with Dr. Kristien Zenkov and Dr. Supriya Bailey to use digital arts based methods to engage students in Manassas, VA and Port Au Prince, Haiti to reflect on the purposes, values and problems of school.
Prior to coming to George Mason, Kim was a research specialist at Harvard University Project Zero, where she studied the habits of mind taught and learned in intensive visual arts classes.  Based on that work, she is a co-author of the book, Studio Thinking: The real benefits of visual arts education, which has been featured in articles in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and has been influential on educators internationally, and has a 2nd edition published in 2013.  She has applied this work to her research in digital arts, and to other contexts such as early childhood classrooms.


Dr. Sheridan has received a number of grants and awards, including ones from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright, Spencer Foundation and a George Mason University Creative Award. In 2010, she was invited to give a George Mason University Vision Series Lecture: Art, Science and Games: Learning in Studios. She has given keynote addresses on her work at a number of state art education associations, and has worked with the John F. Kennedy Center for Visual and Performing Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and educators from Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Washington D.C. to improve PreK-12 art education and arts integration efforts in the D.C. area. She is engaged in national discussions about arts learning, development, and new technologies.